Restarting the aACE Server

This guide explains how to handle scheduled server restarts and also addresses unplanned hard restarts. It is intended for system administrators.

It is of critical importance that all aACE files be safely closed via the FileMaker Server Admin Console prior to shutting down or restarting the aACE server. Please follow the steps below very carefully anytime you need to restart your aACE server for any reason. Shutting down the server while any aACE files are still open can result in corrupt files and permanent loss of data.

Hard restarts of the server are possible, but require additional effort to preserve your data. See below for best practices for hard restarts.

Scheduled Restarts

We recommend that you schedule periodic restarts of your aACE server to take place at least once every 30 days. FileMaker Server sometimes encounters issues with system performance or with the Admin Console interface if the server has not been restarted for a long time. Periodic restarts help prevent such issues. You can schedule automatic restarts to help with this.

You may also need to shut down and restart your aACE server in order to install OS / software updates or if aACE Software support personnel cannot access your server remotely. When scheduling a restart of your aACE server, select a convenient time (e.g. when user disruption will be minimal), then use these instructions to ensure your aACE server is restarted safely.

Shutting Down the Server

  1. Log in to your server's FileMaker Server Admin Console (manual launch: http://localhost:16001/)
  2. Navigate to the Databases tab.
  3. At the top of the list of Databases, click on the Database Options chevron and select Close All.
  4. At the prompt, enter a message to be sent to any users currently signed into your hosted system.
  5. Wait for the Status indicators for all hosted files to change from blue () to red () to gray ().
  6. Navigate to Configuration > General Settings, then at the Server Information section, click the blue Stop Database Server link.
    Note: FileMaker will again prompt you to broadcast a message to users. However, since you have shut down the system already, this second message would not be seen by any users.
  7. Click Stop Database Server.
  8. Wait for the Admin Console page to display the refreshed Database Server Status screen.

Restarting the Server and Verifying

At this point, it is safe to restart the machine and FileMaker Server will automatically restart. 

System Updates

If any system updates are needed, while FileMaker Server is offline, you can safely install them. After the updates have completed, restart the machine.

Verifying the Restart

Once the machine has finished restarting, FileMaker Server should automatically start up with all hosted files back online. Verify this by signing into the FileMaker Server Admin Console, navigating to the Databases tab, and confirming that all files have a blue Status indicator.

Hard Restarts — Caution

If you cannot access the server desktop or the FM server admin console, you may need to do a hard restart on the server.

A hard restart should only be performed during a controlled timeframe:

  • After your nightly backup has run
    Note: Per aACE's default protocols, server backups start at 11:30 pm server time. These backups may run for an extended time, so it may be best to plan on conducting the hard restart after midnight.
  • Before any daily transactions have been entered

At your selected timeframe, restart the physical or virtual machine. After the restart, verify that all the files have come back online — sign into the FileMaker Server Admin Console, navigate to the Databases tab, and confirm that all files have a blue Status indicator. 

Troubleshooting a Hard Restart

If one or more database files did not come online automatically, those files have become corrupted as a result of the hard restart. 

In this event, you may need to replace the corrupted files with the corresponding files from a recent backup. Per the aACE default protocols, the daily backup schedule will store the last seven nightly backups on the server. The most recent backup is the best option since it will have the most up-to-date data.

Stage One — Log In to Backup System

  1. In the FMS Admin Console, close all database files and stop the server before proceeding.
  2. Locate your most recent backup system, manually open the aACE file, and sign in to check the validity of the backup. 
    • Successful Sign In — The backup is valid. Move the corrupt database files out of the Databases folder (Do not delete these files. Data from the corrupt files may be recovered using FileMaker's Recover feature. See below.) Upload the replacement database files you've taken from the recent backup to the server. Confirm that these files come online as expected. Skip to Stage Three.
    • Cannot Sign In (e.g. an error about a corrupt file) — Proceed to the next most-recent backup and try to sign in. Work backwards through the backups stored on the server to find one that is not corrupted. If none of your backups can be opened successfully, continue with Stage Two.

Stage Two — Recover Files (if needed)

  1. Open FileMaker Pro and use the top bar to select File > Recover
  2. Select one of the corrupt database files and allow the recovery process to run.
    Note: The recovery process may require an extended amount of time to complete depending on the size of the file being recovered. This process is not guaranteed to be successful, as a some corrupted files may be beyond repair. 
  3. Repeat the recovery steps for each corrupt file. 
  4. Move the corrupt files out of the Databases folder and rename the recovered files to the original file names exactly. 
  5. Attempt to manually open the aACE file and sign into the system once more.

Stage Three — Doublecheck and Report

  1. After FMS is back online, find a convenient time when no users are logged in, then again stop FMS.
  2. Navigate to the FileMaker Server > Logs folder and archive the Event.log file.
    Note: This log file may include valuable information that can be used to identify the cause of the initial server problem. 
  3. Restart the server and confirm that everything comes back online once more.
  4. Submit a report to your aACE partner, including a copy of the archived Event.Log file.